Introduction: Flynn Rider Vest From Tangled

About: I work in IT, but enjoy a variety of things. I'll usually do something until I'm almost good at it and then move on to something else. There's probably a clinical diagnosis for that, but I've never asked. I …
This is how I made my Flynn Rider costume for a local fairytale ball I recently attended. Flynn is the roguish hero from Disney's Tangled, a new twist on the tale of Rapunzel. I found this handy resource that gave me all the details that were needed:
They say the vest is made out of some sort of leather, but I chose some blueish-teal 16 WPI corduroy partly because I love corduroy, and partly because it was on sale. For the lining I chose some navy quilted poplin to give it a bit of structure and insulation in case I ever need it for a chilly Halloween party or something. Perhaps not the best choice for an indoor dance party, it got pretty warm wearing a long shirt & trousers as well. 

  • an old T-shirt for the pattern
  • ~1½ yards of corduroy
  • ~1½ yards of quilted poplin
  • a bit of iron-on interfacing
  • suitable thread
  • #8 wire. A bit of a kiwi specialty, a wire coat hanger will do fine as well
  • bronze bluejean rivets

All the pictures of animated characters are the property of Disney®

Step 1: Pattern Making

First try on your T-shirt, we're going to cut it up and turn it into a pattern for the vest. Pin it up the sides so it fits the way you want. Try to approximate the sleeve seams with some chalk, my shoulders aren't very wide so I just traced the existing seams in the T-shirt, only a couple of inches in so they lined up with the pins up the side. Put a mark where your belt buckle usually sits, then take it off and trace the side lines where the pins are. Also draw a centerline and put in the V on the chest where the vest material changes direction. 

Remove the pins, and cut off the sides & sleeves. Then separate the front pattern from the back by cutting along the seams at the tops of the shoulders. Now you can cut the front in half along the center. Lay the front halves on top of one another, wrong sides together, and cut the top from the bottom along the V line. Put an arrow across each upper front pattern piece indicating the grain direction of the fabric, as indicated in the photos from the link.

For the back pattern, you'll need to cut the yoke which goes from sleeve seam to sleeve seam with a little dip in the middle. Freehand the line in chalk, decide which half looks better, fold it in half, and cut along the line so both halves are the same. 

Step 2: Cut Out the Pieces

Lay out your pattern pieces on the fabric and cut around them, leaving a healthy seam allowance. My T-shirt wasn't as long as I wanted the vest to be, so I added about 4" along the bottom of both front and back. Pay careful attention to the grain direction of the corduroy, it goes vertically on the front & back, horizontally on the yoke, and along the arrows you drew on the front top pieces. Also, don't pay particularly close attention to the pictures here; I thought 1 yard of fabric would be enough, but ended up having to go back for a little bit more because it wouldn't all fit. You'll also need some scraps of corduroy for pieces we'll add later on. 

Step 3: Assembly

Now the fun begins! Start by assembling the fronts and backs. Sew the yoke to the back on both the inside and outside fabric. On the lining sew the front tops directly to the front bottoms, but on the corduroy, add a strip in between the two, with the grain running parallel with the seams. Leave a little extra seam allowance there so that the outside front doesn't end up taller than the inside front. 

Attach the linings, right sides together, at the shoulders and sides, then do the same for the corduroy pieces. Leave the bottom 4" of all side seams unsewn since there will be a split there. Put them together and try it on. Make sure everything fits and no alterations are needed. Make sure it fits in front, remembering that you need about 3/4" overlap of the two sides, a seam allowance, and you'll probably be wearing a puffy shirt underneath. 

Hang it on a coat hanger and pin the inside to the outside making sure there are no wrinkles. Cut the V in the neck from the little chest stripe up to where the shoulder seam meets the neck, leaving a seam allowance. 

Step 4: Collars & Cuffs

Now things are going to get a little more tricky. Let's start with the collar: measure from one chest stripe across the neck to the other chest stripe to get the collar length. Cut two corduroy rectangles this length by about 4 ½" including seam allowance. It doesn't really matter but I cut the two pieces with the wales running in opposite directions. Measure 6" in from each end and cut from there to the opposite corner of the same end to get the trapezoid shape. Curve the cut a little to make a slightly concave angle.

Add some interfacing, the stuff I had was fairly stiff, so I only put it on one side of the collar. Sew right sides together along the top 3 edges and turn right sides out. Press. 

Turn the corduroy vest inside out and attach it to the outside half of the collar, right sides together. 

Before we start sewing the lining to the corduroy, it would be best to add things like belt loops and pockets if you want them. I think the vest in the movie only had 3 belt loops, but I put in 7 for good measure. Try the outside of the vest on again, put on the belt you plan to wear, and mark the belt line with chalk. Cut a 1½" strip of corduroy, triple it over and sew a seam along its length. Cut it into sections depending on the width of your belt, leaving a seam allowance on each end. Double the ends over and attach to the belt line at desired intervals with a short, wide zigzag stitch. I couldn't resist adding just one little inside breast pocket, would have put more in had I had the time, but it's up to you. 

Now it's time to put the inside & outside together. Sew the lining to the inside of the collar just like you did for the corduroy, right sides together. Also sew the inside to the outside at the front centerline opening, right sides together. 

Measure the circumference of your armholes, if there is any unevenness between the inside & outside, trim them up flush. Cut some pieces that length by about 3" including seam allowance, and cut a curve on them to get the tapered dome shape shown in the pictures. Add interfacing, sew them together & press just like the collar. It's very important that you make sure the open edges of each piece are exactly flush when sitting flat, so trim them if need be. 

Attach sleeves:
Get an inside out armhole and pin the sleeve in place, making sure it lines up nicely. Sew it together being certain to keep the seam allowance absolutely uniform the whole way around. Press the seam outwards towards the sleeve. Also press the very outside sleeve seam allowance inwards towards the sleeve, so that when you fold the sleeve wrong sides together, both inside & outside sleeve seams line up perfectly.  Repeat for other sleeve. 

Seam A:
Pin the lining to the corduroy around the armhole. It should cover the seam where we just attached the sleeve. We are going to sew the lining down here, but from the outside. Turn the garment right side out again and sew a seam along the vest side of the vest/sleeve seam we just sewed. We are going to call this seam A, and it should sew the outside to the lining, but not pass through any part of the sleeve. I used a double needle here as well as many other places, but it's your preference. 

Seam B:
Now it is time to fold the sleeves in, wrong side together, making sure to tuck the outside sleeve seam allowance under so that its right side touches the right side of the lining. We are going to sew it here with seam B, using seam A as a pinning guide from the inside. So take the inside edge of the sleeve, with seam allowance folded under, and line it up with the outside sleeve/vest seam. Looking at the inside, it should be equidistant from seam A all the way around. Sew seam B from the outside, it should pass through:
  • the outside of the sleeve
  • the outside sleeve seam allowance
  • the vest corduroy
  • the quilted poplin lining
  • the inside sleeve seam allowance
  • the inside of the sleeve

Step 5: One, Two, Buckle Your... Vest?

We are going to need 5 little buckles of some description for the vest. I'm sure they can be readily found in craft stores etc. but in New Zealand, a project isn't legitimate unless it somehow involves the use of No. 8 wire.
To get the required buckle shape, I took a stick of 1" by ¾" pine and put 5 turns of wire around it. Then using an angle grinder, I cut them apart and tweaked each one to make a complete circle. I also went to the effort of welding each one, but I'm sure it's not really necessary if you can get the gap fairly small.

To make the clasp half of the buckle I bent an eye in the end of the wire, then doubled it over to make a hook coming off of the eye. After repeating that 4 more times, a coat of primer and some copper colored paint made some pretty flash looking buckles. 

Mark the 5 buckle positions on both sides of the vest front, remembering that the top one isn't really meant to be buckled. To attach them to the vest, make some more belt loop like sections and put one through each buckle. You'll also need some rectangles slightly larger than the buckles themselves, with a button hole in each one for the belt loop to pass through. Sew the lot to the vest, making sure to get a healthy zigzag through the belt loop part. The eyes of the clasps will have to be hand stitched to the other side, then put some rectangles over them as well. 

Step 6: Finishing Touches

Now all that's left to do is add a few decorative rivets around the sleeve to armhole seam as well as around the buckles and the vest is finished! Add some brown pants and a white shirt and you've got yourself a costume. My boots/spats are just the sleeves cut off of an old faux leather jacket with the cuffs rolled down at the top. I didn't have time to do a proper pouch or satchel, but had an old informal Irish sporran I made ages ago.

The little Pascal chameleon I cobbled together in the middle of the dance party out of PVC and electrical tape, alas now the tape is beginning to come unstuck. I'm sure you can do better. I also brought along a cast iron frying pan, just in case I found any horses that needed dueling with.

And of course, if there's going to be music at your party, you're going to need something appropriate. The theme song to the movie Tangled, Something That I Want is only 99 cents on Amazon. Also, the singer/songwriter is Grace Potter, a family friend from my hometown. 

BurdaStyle Fashion Challenge

Finalist in the
BurdaStyle Fashion Challenge

Halloween Easy Costumes Challenge

Participated in the
Halloween Easy Costumes Challenge